Sox Host Angels Tonight; NL'ers Set For Tomorrow

BOSTON--The Boston Red Sox and California Angels say their minislumps are over. They're ready to start the American League playoffs.

"The intensity level will pick up [tonight], and with that the bats will pick up," vowed Boston's Wade Boggs, the major league batting champion.

The Red Sox dropped their final four games of the season at home to the New York Yankees, including a 7-0 loss Sunday. Boston equalled its season high with four straight defeats, and scored only five runs on 18 hits in the process.

The Angels won only twice in nine games after clinching the AL West title, yet Manager Gene Mauch is not concerned.

"It would be silly to be worried about it," Mauch said after Sunday's 7-4 loss in Texas.

Game 1 of the playoffs will be tonight in Fenway Park and matches Boston's Roger Clemens, 24-4, against Mike Witt, 18-10.

"My elbow feels fine and our bats will be there," said Clemens, who said he is recovered from a line drive that hit him in the right elbow last Wednesday.

Boggs finished with a .357 average and won his third AL batting title. He did not play in Boston's final four games because of a right hamstring injury, but expects to start the playoff opener.

Boggs won the batting title over New York's Don Mattingly.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the New York Mets and Houston Astros open their playoff series tomorrow night in Houston.